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Valar Qringaomis

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Links - 19th November 2014

Online petition against 'pick-up artist' Julien Blanc gathers close to 3,000 supporters in three days - "An online petition to prevent self-proclaimed "pick-up artist" Julien Blanc from coming to Singapore has gathered close to 3,000 supporters in three days"
How many of those petitioning to ban Julien Blanc from Singapore were against Ashley Madison being banned?

Rocket Scientist Matt Taylor Shot Down Over His Silly Bowling Shirt - "Rose Eveleth, a technology writer for The Atlantic and enthusiastic participant in previous Taylor-bashing, responded accordingly: Now that Taylor had “recognized his mistake and apologized,” she wrote on Twitter, “we can both move along with our lives.” Yes, she really wrote that. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of miles away, a comet soars, quiet and mysterious, a trail of fire—brighter than all the lasers on all the millions of offensive bowling shirts that planet Earth has to offer—left in its cosmic wake. Comets cause us, as Walt Whitman once wrote, to “think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of the future.” They lead us to ponder the meaning of human life, our potential, and our limits. Well, some of us, anyway. Others would rather concoct a bunch of random outrage about a goofy shirt. It kind of makes you want to buy one, doesn’t it? Oh, and I just discovered the darndest thing. There’s one for the ladies, too."

Hiding the Words Doesn’t Make the Problem Go Away - "I talk about language use because I think it’s important and because I think some words should be used with care, but I don’t think these words should be eradicated. In fact, I think they should be preserved, not just in conversations about their meaning but in general usage, because if we try to wipe them off the slate, we do ourselves, and our history, a tremendous disservice. Not talking about these words would mean that people wouldn’t have a framework of understanding and a starting point for talking about the ideas behind them; ‘racism’ carries more impact when you link it with racial slurs, for example. Explaining why ableism is an issue is a lot easier when I can point to a book with a disabled protagonist who gets called ‘r#tarded’ by other characters... we all know that for progressives, the worst thing ever is to be accused of being -ist. So it’s better not to talk about it at all, to pretend that it isn’t happening and never happened. To erase the -ist parts of history, literally, in the case of books altered to remove key aspects of their content. Because if you make the word go away, that means there’s no idea left, right?"

The N-word belongs in “Huckleberry Finn” - "The book, which deals directly with racism, is not better served by erasing the racial slur. The only purpose is to ease the tension that is felt by parents and teachers of students who would read it. To pretend this is for some higher good is to insult the intelligence of the American public... America talks about race like scared parents talk with their kids about sex. We’re vague, sometimes terribly misleading and on occasion leave out huge aspects of the situation that would allow kids to make better decisions about how they conduct themselves. If we continue with our horrendously skewed and willfully ignorant interpretations of history, we will find ourselves with a generation that’s woefully misinformed and it will be completely our fault."

Can Liberalism Be Saved From Itself? : Sam Harris - "Affleck was gunning for me from the start. What many viewers probably don’t realize is that the mid-show interview is supposed be a protected five-to-seven-minute conversation between Maher and the new guest—and all the panelists know this. To ignore this structure and encroach on this space is a little rude; to jump in with criticism, as Affleck did, is pretty hostile. He tried to land his first blow a mere 90 seconds after I took my seat, before the topic of Islam even came up... imagine that the year is 1970, and I said: “Communism is the Mother lode of bad ideas.” How reasonable would it be to attack me as a “racist” or as someone who harbors an irrational hatred of Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese, etc. This is precisely the situation I am in. My criticism of Islam is a criticism of beliefs and their consequences—but my fellow liberals reflexively view it as an expression of intolerance toward people... Kristof made the point that there are brave Muslims who are risking their lives to condemn “extremism” in the Muslim community. Of course there are, and I celebrate these people too. But he seemed completely unaware that he was making my point for me—the point being, of course, that these people are now risking their lives by advocating for basic human rights in the Muslim world... I don’t know how many times one must deny that one is referring to an entire group, or cite specific poll results to justify the percentages one is talking about, but no amount of clarification appears sufficient to forestall charges of bigotry and lack of “nuance.” One of the most depressing things in the aftermath of this exchange is the way Affleck is now being lauded for having exposed my and Maher’s “racism,” “bigotry,” and “hatred of Muslims.” This is yet another sign that simply accusing someone of these sins, however illogically, is sufficient to establish them as facts in the minds of many viewers. It certainly does not help that unscrupulous people like Reza Aslan and Glenn Greenwald have been spinning the conversation this way... Rather than trust poll results and the testimony of jihadists and Islamists, they trust the feeling that they get from the dozens of Muslims they have known personally. As a method of gauging Muslim opinion worldwide, this preference is obviously crazy... what we need is honest talk about the link between belief and behavior. And no one is suffering the consequences of what Muslim “extremists” believe more than other Muslims are... To say that we should have left Saddam Hussein alone says some very depressing things about the Muslim world"

The Disruption Machine - "Disruptive innovation as a theory of change is meant to serve both as a chronicle of the past (this has happened) and as a model for the future (it will keep happening). The strength of a prediction made from a model depends on the quality of the historical evidence and on the reliability of the methods used to gather and interpret it. Historical analysis proceeds from certain conditions regarding proof. None of these conditions have been met."

How Moore, Burchill and Featherstone all had a lovely bitch fight - "One of these days, not too far away, the entire bourgeois bien-pensant left will self-immolate entirely leaving behind nothing but a thin skein of smoke smelling slightly of goji berries. Please let that day come quickly. In the meantime let us simply enjoy ourselves watching them tear each other to pieces, mired in their competing victimhoods, seething with acquired sensitivity, with inchoate rage and fury, inventing more and more hate crimes with which they might punish people who are not themselves... she was cissexist. Now there’s a term. Have you heard it before? I hadn’t. It is a wonderful day when we can stumble across a new hate crime of which we might all one day be accused: cissexism is the suspicion that transsexual people’s ‘identified gender’ is somehow less genuine than that of people born to the gender in which they remain. Are you guilty of cissexism? You bastard... the government got involved. No, it really did. Its most idiotic minister, the Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone — again utilising that conduit for the shriekingly self-obsessed and vapid, Twitter — described Burchill’s article as ‘bigoted vomit’ and suggested that both she and the editor of the Observer, a man called John Mulholland, should be sacked immediately. Should government ministers do that sort of thing, demand the sacking of newspaper editors? Even if they are incalculably stupid ministers with a track record of saying incalculably stupid things? She is the minister for International Development these days, Featherstone, so it is not even part of her brief. Although I suppose it is part of her brief as a non-cissexist heterosexual woman, in a very real sense... the metro-left is filled with loathing — self-loathing and a loathing it disperses to anyone who might even mildly offend its sensibilities"

It saddens me that supporting freedom makes me an opponent of equality - "The wrath of the transgender community has been insane. They say I haven't apologised enough and I probably haven't. No one has apologised to me for saying that I should be decapitated and I support the English Defence League... I feel increasingly freakish because I believe in freedom, which is easier to say than to achieve and makes me wonder if I am even of "the left" any more. I am a freak because I question certain words: cis, date rape, Islamofascist, for instance. I am a freak because I believe in sexual liberation, which is not the same as equality. And I am serious about freedom of speech. If Lynne Featherstone can call for a journalist and an editor to be sacked, this does not bode well for having politicians and lawyers running the press, does it? Do you actually want to be governed by humourless, authoritarian morons? Don't answer that, I may be offended... How has the left ceded the word "freedom" to the right? It maddens me. We can argue about sexuality and gender till the sacred cows come home. Obviously my politics come out of feminism and did I need to say that I have never personally condoned the murder of a single woman, Brazilian, trans or otherwise? Nor did I make up stuff; I merely reported what is actually happening in Brazil. According to an Associated Press report: "The trans-models have a proverbial leg up on their female colleagues. Unlike even the thinnest of women, without cellulite and stretch marks ... once they've lasered away facial and body hair, they can look more feminine than models who were born female." This description has as much to do with the average transgender person as I do with Naomi Campbell, but the artificiality of femininity is something I often write about. Is this hatred to say so?"

WATCH: CNN asks, 'Does Hamas use human shields?' - "KAYE: Another of the group's political leader said this about their tactics during a 2008 battle between Israel and Gaza.
FATHI HAMAD, FMR. HAMAS INTERIOR MINISTER: They have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the Mujahideen in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine...
Listen to what a spokesman for Hamas said on AL Aqsa TV in July.
MUSHIR AL-MASRI, HAMAS SPOKESPERSON: Stay in your homes as we promised you and do not comply with the war of rumors and psychological warfare the Zionist enemy is waging on you.
KAYE: The IDF released this video of Israeli military firing a warning shot. Then moments later, civilians emerge on the rooftop acting according to the IDF as human shields.
In Gaza, believing Hamas' word could mean the difference between life and death."

Why Freud Still Matters, When He Was Wrong About Almost Everything - "Freud’s legacy has transcended science, with his ideas permeating deep into Western culture. Rarely does a day go by where we don’t find ourselves uttering a term drawn from his work: Mommy and daddy issues. Arrested development. Death wishes. Freudian slips. Phallic symbols. Anal retentiveness. Defense mechanisms. Cathartic release. And on and on and on."
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